R.I.P. Spencer Dryden

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Jefferson Airplane drummer dies. (San Francisco Chronicle) Since the ’60’s San Francisco psychedelic era still figures large in my musical tastes, this is probably more of note to me than to nearly any other of my readers. Dryden was the emphatic, fearless and much underrated lynchpin of a monstrous rhythm section with the Airplane during their greatest days (listen to any live bootleg, or “Bear Melt” from Bless Its Pointed Little Head), although he was not even invited back to their 1989 reunion. He also drummed for the New Riders of the Purple Sage and another of my favorites, Dinosaurs, comprised of luminaries from most of the great SF bands. Dryden’s later days were full of misfortune, including a prior bout with cancer, the loss of his home and all his possessions in a house fire in 2003, double hip replacement last year, and the stomach cancer to which he eventually succumbed. Pigpen, Jerry, Keith, Brent, Janis, John Cipollina and Skip Spence are likely welcoming him at a rehearsal of the Heavenly Band even as we speak.